TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 11 (PIA) -- Bohol nutrition authorities are now working to remedy a national concern that has recorded a high prevalence rate among Boholano kids: stunting.
Stunting, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.
Stunting is defined as having a height (or length)-for-age more than two standard deviations below the median of the WHO growth reference, and is calculated by taking body measurements of height or length as against the age and gender as males tend to be taller.
PLAN YOUR PREGNANCY. This was the suggestion of nutritionist Ardin Abrea (right) as stunting can best be addressed by complete nutrition while the infant is still in the womb. Stunting is irreversible when the child has gone past the early years. (PIA Bohol)
According to Provincial Health Office Nutritionist and Dietician Glenda Grafilo, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2018 bared that in a survey, the Philippines has a 33 percent prevalence rate of stunting in children.
This means 33 in every 100 kids are stunted, a figure that is slightly higher in Bohol where stunting prevalence is rated at 31.9 or 32 in every 100 kids.
During the Kapihan commemorating July as Nutrition Month, Grafilo bared this year's theme: "Batang Pinoy, Sana Tall, Iwas Stunting, Sana All, Iwas All Din sa COVID 19."
Stunted children fall sick more often and are four times more likely to die than those who are not, the nutririonists said.
As to Intelligence Quotients (IQ), stunting can drastically reduce IQ by some 11 points that stunted children tend to miss opportunities to learn and perform less in school.
Stunting is irreversible in adults and stunted persons grow up to be economically disadvantaged and more likely to suffer from chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes, research also showed.
Grafilo, who along with another dietician and nutritionist Ardin Abrea came to the Kapihan sa PIA, said stunting can be remedied during the first 1,000 days of the baby starting from conception.
A Department of Health program for the first 1,000 days of a child has been implemented already.
"Pregnant women, owing to the infant in the womb which also consumes and needs every nutrient to grow, have to get an additional 300 kilocalories every day, to be assured of the infant's proper physical and mental development," Abrea said.
"Everything boils down to planning the pregnancy," added Abrea, as stunting may have high prevalence in unplanned and usually teenage pregnancy.
"Include in the diet green and leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and good fats and proteins, in short, go for the basic food groups as guide," Grafilo said.
"As soon as the child is born, go for exclusive breastfeeding as this will bolster the child's immune system development and aside from being complete food, breast milk also strengthens the physical and psychological bond of the mother and child," they shared.
Over this, both nutritionists called on pregnant women and young parents to always use the services of the rural health units where people there can help.
"Do not be ashamed, go to the health centers, that is where our most reliable service providers can be consulted and seek advice from them," they urged. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)